Unify This. Election Edition.
What is so moral, professional, or even particularly American about unity? It’s touted as the optimum state of this republic, the golden standard by which to judge any and all thoughts, plans, activities and attitudes, especially right after an election.
“Unity,” whether an elected official truly desires it, must make its way into that person’s speeches and literature and town hall answers. You have to. This is America. The United States after all. If I love my country, and want what is best for it, I am required to seek out unity with my fellow citizens as often as I can.
Why? Why is unity such a thing? I ask because to tell you the truth, these days I think striving for unity in the United States is bullshit at every level from the alpha to the omega. It’s only getting more ridiculous, not less, as time goes on.
By all means follow the law, and make sure everyone is equal in the eyes of same. (Though we are light-years from that being a reality.) Eschew violence. Embrace compromise of certain things maybe once in a while if it is for the greater good. (Though that is going the way of the dodo in our civic life.)
If what I’ve described here is what it means to unify, I suppose it’s doable most times. But if calls for unity in this country, especially in the wake of the 2016 presidential election are in fact calls to “mend wounds,” “shake hands” and “remember that we are all Americans first,” then to be frank, I have no aspirations to unity. I have aspirations to see what is right and just prevail. At this moment in history, the two concepts are mutually exclusive.
The next president of this country won this election by directly and indirectly appealing to some of the worst divides that plague our populace. Unwarranted fears about Muslims, about gays, about those with “blood coming out of her…whatever,” all of which lead to a primal grunt of protection of the alpha white male and his interpretation of his rights. (That among these are not paying workers, evading taxes, and becoming famous enough to grab a woman’s “pussy” without permission.)
Trump voters were by and large simpatico with this philosophy to the tune of tens of millions earlier this week, some tacitly and some enthusiastically, but all indubitably. Why in hell would I want to seek common ground with such garbage? If I were in a frat that had such stipulations, I’d leave it, or never pledge it in the first place. Chances are, you’d agree with my decision. Yet when the president of the United States does it? Get mad for a while, but remember to give him your support, and wish him well. Why? Because America.
I’m also encouraged to remember the pain of other people not in my situation, and think long and hard about how to establish empathy with such people. Ask yourself, they say, what it was that drove so many people so passionately to vote in this way. How can I respond to this request succinctly? Like this; no.
This ain’t fivethirtyeight, so I don’t have charts and graphs. But the anecdotal evidence is pretty clear; the white working class won this election for the so-called Republican candidate. Let me talk to them for a minute, if we are going to “unify” and “understand one another.”
It must suck for you if the steel mill your granddaddy and great-granddaddy worked at to put food on the family table has been closed for 40 years, but it ain’t comin’ back. You could cry enough tears to cool the molten steel over which your great-granddaddy slaved and sweated for 30 years up in Pittsburgh, and it won’t change a thing. Adapt. Move on. Suck it up. These are surely expressions and concepts with which you are familiar; you use them on minorities in the inner city who don’t make enough at the job to feed themselves and their children, and who had their WIC cut in half by folks you elected for the purpose.
Newsflash, angry white worker; (or angry white middle class?), the African American mother in the South Side of Chicago didn’t choose to be there in most cases. In even more cases, she didn’t slap you with your lot in life. Chances are she wasn’t even alive when that world of great-granddaddy died. Neither were you.
I may sympathize with being working class, or being working poor. I am one myself. But as soon as you start insisting that people wholly unconnected with your predicament some how be punished because you are tired of “Washington ignoring us,” you lose any consideration from me. I don’t have to unify with you. I don’t have to consider it from your angle. Sorry you didn’t get to go to college, (or the college you preferred) but you don’t need a degree to understand the transgender boy who wants to go to his prom 500 miles from where you live doesn’t have a damn thing to do with you losing the farm. They didn’t do that sort of thing in the America you grew up in? Nothing lasts forever, does it?
Things change in a country this big. Demographics change, laws change. More and more people that are nothing like you or your granddaddy are here now. You don’t have to sup with them, if you can’t stand them, but don’t expect me when I vote, or when I comment on the state of our nation to feel bad for you because your world isn’t as white as it used to be. Don’t expect me to expect elected officials to do so either.
Blacks, Muslims, Asians, Gays, and plenty of other minorities are just as powerless as you are when they can’t find a job or can’t feed their kids. Instead of bitching about them, and taking food out of their mouths, vote for somebody who is actually going to provide both of you with what you can use to fix your situation today. Stop voting for someone who you foolishly believe will allow you to become rich in a thousand tomorrows if it weren’t for those people with the funny names that wear things on their heads that you don’t like. Maybe, just maybe, they worked harder than you did. And maybe they got luckier. But they sure as hell didn’t get to where they are by saying, “How can I fuck over that white lower middle class worker today?”
I won’t unify with people like this. I won’t sympathize with them, when they vote for Trump in desperation, shaking my head in sympathy at them as though they were a young puppy who just missed pissing on the newspaper. These are people’s lives we’re talking about. You can be white, desperate, be treated unfairly, feel like society and Washington and everyone else keeps their boot on your throat, and be absolutely correct, without spewing venom about taking your country back from “the others” while willfully, gleefully ignoring all the facts in the world to the contrary.
These aren’t the demographics I need to unify with simply because I’m on the losing side of the quadrennial first Wednesday after the first Monday in November. These concepts need to be fixed or replaced, not simply spit-shined with the hallow promise of unity behind their ring leader because somebody decided that’s what Americans do.
Every shred of empirical evidence, most of which consists of his own words, shows us that the next president of the United States is a greedy misogynist, racist, Russian sympathizer with narcissistic tendencies that has absolutely no idea what he is doing, and cares for nothing but what makes him feel good at the moment. I’m not unifying with that, and I’m not supporting it, and I’m not wishing it well, even though the candidate I voted for on Tuesday has asked me to, and even though the outgoing president for which I voted twice asked me to. Because enough is enough.
Unifying is as fruitless in this climate as it is dangerous. I’ll remain non-violent, within the law, and I will certainly keep informed, and keep my eye on things in the next four years. I will continue to offer my sympathy to the true minorities, the truly oppressed, the truly voiceless of this land who just felt a gun pointed at their head by the electoral college. I’ve got no time to spare on butt hurt WASPS who wouldn’t know an aisle to reach a hand across if they tripped over it.
This is a (hopefully) bloodless war we’re fighting in this country, and I’m too busy fighting it to embrace someone so far on the other side, that people I love would come under suspicion for existing.
Majority doesn’t rule, it merely elects. (Electoral. Looks like Trump lost the popular.) Elections must be respected, but the attitudes of those electing do not.
America, and its system, fucked up.